Today’s NHL pick below is brought to you by Brent. Kevin has hired Brent to provide daily free picks here at NHLPredictions.org. If you’re looking for Kevin’s NHL picks please click on the “NHL Member’s Picks” link on the right hand side.
It was a very disappointing effort from the Montreal Canadiens last night despite the Habs grabbing two points via the shootout against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. For some reason this Habs team is playing uninspired hockey, and that is a problem this early in the season. Buffalo matched their season average with just one goal last night, and the Habs were still unable to come away with a regulation victory. In fact, Montreal surrendered just the second powerplay goal Buffalo has scored all year in almost 50 opportunities. Montreal was fortunate to be playing the Sabres last night as their effort and determination would have been exposed by just about every other team in the league. Tough one for me to swallow but with more action on tonight’s NHL slate we will look to march on.
Florida Panthers @ Philadelphia Flyers
My Pick – FLYERS -. 5 IN REGULATION (+109)
The Panthers and Flyers meet for the second time this season and the first time they have met in Philadelphia in the 2014/2015 campaign. The Flyers are out to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Panthers on November 1st, a night that belonged to Roberto Luongo as he stymied the Flyers offense, stopping 37 of 38 shots in the Panthers victory. A different story lies ahead tonight as Philadelphia takes great pride in playing on home ice. The Flyers have grabbed points in five of six games at home this season and will be playing a Panthers team that has struggled to find offense all season long. Brad Boyes leads this team with just six points on the season and Brandon Pirri leads the team in goals… with 3. Compare those numbers to the numbers of the Flyers top scorer in Jakob Voracek as he has tallied five goals and 18 points on the year so far. In fact, Philly has seven players on their roster that are tied or ahead of Boyes in points. Florida scores just 1.5 goals per game which makes their 4-2-4 record look very fortunate at the moment. You can only win games 2-1 and 1-0 for so long before the lack of offense will catch up to you. Their defense will also be put to the test this evening as the Flyers average 3.08 goals per game and have one of the more dangerous powerplay units in the Eastern Conference with Voracek, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds (41 points in 36 games combined) fronting a unit that is quarterbacked by veteran Mark Streit who already has nine points in 12 games on the season. The Flyers will get their revenge tonight and walk away with two points in regulation.
Calgary Flames @ Tampa Bay Lightning
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (+105)
The second and final meeting between Calgary and Tampa Bay will take place tonight as the Lightning upended the Flames 2-1 in overtime on October 21st at the Saddledome in Calgary. Clearly, I’m looking for the rematch to take a bit of a different direction in terms of offensive output as the Lightning are usually a more dangerous offensive team on home ice. Their 5-1 home record so far this season suggests they are tough to beat at the St. Pete Times Forum, and that largely has to do with the fact that they score 3.5 goals per game and boast a powerplay that is clicking at 25% on the year. The scoring depth on this team is also impressive as young studs such as Tyler Johnson (14 points), Nikita Kucherov (11 points), and Ondrej Palat (8 points) compliment superstar Steven Stamkos, Valteri Filppula, and Ryan Callahan to create three dynamic scoring lines up front for Tampa. Calgary has also seen some offensive output from unexpected sources as defensemen Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie lead the team in scoring with 13 points each, which also ties them for the league lead among d-men. Their youngsters have also contributed nicely as Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Joe Colbourne all have tallied eight points on the season which puts them all at a 50 point pace for the season, something the Flames will gladly take. The back-and-forth style of hockey the Lightning play on home ice usually creates plenty of scoring opportunities and I am looking for more of the same tonight as these two close out their season series.